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Te Haunui Anagama

One of the club’s hidden gems is a Japanese styled anagama wood fired kiln nestled in Horokiwi.  One of very few in New Zealand, it is fired annually.

The firings draw a hard core of devotees attracted by the firing process, the hospitality, the venue and, importantly, the often exciting and unexpected results that emerge when the kiln is opened.

First fired on 18 March 2006, construction of the kiln started in 2004. It was initiated by Richard Stratton with the support of Andy Hope. Their vision was made possible by the generosity of Graeme and June Houston who made land available for its construction on their Te Haunui property in Horokiwi. Graeme also ensured that the kiln was nourished with a steady supply of heavily discounted firewood.  Shige Ohashi, a veteran of over 50 anagama firings in Japan, produced a detailed set of plans and provided technical oversight for the project. The building of the kiln and its shelter was the product of the work of an energetic group of enthusiasts comprising Wellington Potters’ Association members and a number of non-members (most of whom were non-potters) who got caught up in the spirit of the enterprise.

A core group of pyromaniacs plan the firings; maintain the kiln and its shelter; clean kiln shelves; prepare firewood; and load the kiln.  It comprises Mal Sole, Andy Rattenbury, Peter Rumble, Megumi Ogo, Dave Marshall, Roger Pearce and Alan Ross (Anagama Coordinator) – the majority of whom act as firing shift leaders. This group is augmented each year by other volunteers.

Plans of the kiln

(click to enlarge images)

  • Anagama brick setting (layer arch)

    WPA Anagama brick setting (layer arch)

  • interior dimensions of kiln

    Anagama brick setting (inner size - level)

  • front plan view of anagama kiln

    WPA anagama brick setting (front view)

  • anagama brick setting (cover mouth)

    WPA Anagama brick setting (cover mouth)

13th (2017) Facts and figures

  • The kiln was loaded over a period of 6 days.
  • 278 pots (combined weight 222 kilos) contributed by some 63* potters.
  • The kiln was fired for 98 hours 40 minutes.
  • Quantity of firewood used: approximately 12.5 cords (or 45 cubic metres).
  • 16 Firing shifts: (2 X 8-hour shifts and 14 X 6-hour shifts).  Eight shift leaders and 39 shift members.  36.17% of those involved were new participants.

(*Pots received from the Woolshed Potters were treated as being from 1 potter only.)

The firing can be enjoyed by viewing photographs taken principally by Chris Parkin and Sheryl Gallagher to whom we are indebted, and a few other enthusiastic photographers:

13th Anagama Opening

13th Anagama Night Shift Images

13th Anagama Miscellaneous

12th (2016) Firing Facts and Figures:

  • The kiln was loaded over a period of 7 days.
  • 377 pots (combined weight 267 kilos) contributed by 64 potters.
  • The kiln was fired for 100 hours.
  • Quantity of firewood used: approximately 12.5 cords (or 45 cubic metres).
  • 16 Firing shifts: (2 X 8-hour shifts and 14 X 6-hour shifts).  Ten shift leaders and approximately 37 shift members.

The full glory of the successful 12th (2016) firing can be enjoyed by viewing photographs taken principally by Roger Smith and a few other enthusiastic photographers:

Twelfth Anagama Firing (1)

Twelfth Anagama Firing (2)

Prior to his return to Japan in 2016, Shige Ohashi was the principal firing master for most of the firings.  Find out about Shige Ohashi’s Firing Philosophy.